Coffee and Parkinson’s disease
Coffee drinkers may have a lower risk for Parkinson’s disease.
That’s the finding of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers came out with this observation after looking at a data on 8,004 Japanese-American men participating in the ongoing Honolulu Heart Program. The men, whose average age was 53 when the study began, were asked about their coffee consumption twice, in 1965 and again in 1971. The men who did not drink coffee were five times more likely to have Parkinson’s than those men who drank the most coffee – four to five cups per day.
The researchers could not say why coffee protected the men from Parkinson’s disease, but they hypothesize that caffeine is probably the factor that provides the benefit – the more caffeine consumed, the greater the benefit. The researchers say caffeine may protect against the nerve cell destruction associated with Parkinson’s. But they also say there could be something in the brain composition of coffee drinkers that both predisposes them to heavy coffee drinking and makes them resistant to Parkinson’s disease.
It is too early to recommend coffee as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease. It also is not known if the results of this study will hold true for women or other ethnic groups.